UK government signs up Virtual Battlespace 2

British Ministry of Defence picks up rights to use 3D military training system 'based on Operation Flashpoint' to prepare recruits.

29 Comments

British soldiers may soon be playing the latest version of a "military alternative" to Operation Flashpoint as part of their training--the UK's Ministry of Defence has purchased an enterprise licence for the 3D training system Virtual Battlespace 2.

Virtual Battlespace 2 was announced on April 17 and is based on the commercial gaming engine Real Virtuality, created by Bohemia Interactive. It includes a number of new features not in the original, such as an after-action review system and a library which lets all vehicles and weapons be tested.

Virtual Battlespace 1--described as "based upon the popular computer game Operation Flashpoint, [which was] a very advanced game for its time"--has been used by customers including the United States Marine Corps and the Australian Defence Force.

The MOD has bought the enterprise licence for the latest incarnation, which also comes with the VBS2 Virtual Tool Kit, a series of editors to modify and configure simulations for various training demands.

Other features offered to the MOD include a custom terrain editor, with an urban area, a large detailed building complex, an airfield, and a harbour; three training courses; and specially tailored modules containing UK vehicles, weaponry, aircraft, and ships.

Bohemia Interactive is an independent game developer, founded in 1999, and has studios in the Czech Republic and Australia. Other simulation titles it has worked on include Virtual Battlespace, the Virtual Responder Trainer, and Loadmaster Virtual Reality Simulation.

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toomy

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@kavadias1981 This is far from video game, it its what its name says, battlespace simulator. And its far from stupid, it go way ahead in cutting costs, and it enables you too run wide range simulations. This is not substitute for proper training but its great addition that defiantly has its merits.

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konradak

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Cool.

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Dwarden

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Video with showcase of VBS2 features << LINK REMOVED >>

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Avatar image for _Colossus_
_Colossus_

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@cobrax75, where have you heard that? Do you have a source? VBS2 uses somewhat the same engine as ArmA. It has the same animations, same physics, same type of models and same type of graphics. And in the VBS2 handout it says that the commercial game version of VBS2 is ArmA. It's based on the engine used in ArmA. Not Game 2, which won't be out before next year.

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Avatar image for Dwarden
Dwarden

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Reality Engine (by Bohemia Interactive Studio) history: OFP: Cold Was Crisis 1.00 - 1.46 | OFP: Resistance 1.75-1.96 | VBS1 1.75-1.99 | OFP: Elite 2.85 | ArmA: Armed Assault 5089 - 5151 - ? ? ? | VBS2 - 5??? ? ? VBS1 is used for training by US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, UK forces (there are also some informations about Israeli and Singapore forces) VBS2 was already ordered by US Marines, Australian, New Zealand forces and now UK mod, considering the list of VBS1 customers You can await most or all of them migrate to newer VBS2 sooner or later. You can't compare VBS products to normal games, they serious games, training simulators (like shuttle simulator used by NASA for training). Cost (1500 USD per VBS2 seat) fits exactly what product offers for such use (starting from compliance ending with needed tools). I got feeling that whole article above is just some sort of fast mix of rnd taken informations from internet about VBS and BIS. Next time start with official VBS1/VBS2 pages or just check wikipedia VBS1 << LINK REMOVED >> , VBS2 << LINK REMOVED >> entries with list of known customers.

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Avatar image for deactivated-57fce817a4cf5
deactivated-57fce817a4cf5

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Erm... training troops with videogames? Isn't that a little stupid.

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zsc4

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This seems fairly interesting...but I'm not too sure :?

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anamnawshad

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Flashpoint is 1337! :P

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cobrax75

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"This simulator has nothing to do with Operation Flashpoint 2 or Operation Flashpoint for that matter. This uses the same engine as ArmA: Armed Assault (Combat Operations)" it uses a completely new engine which will be used with BIS's next game.

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Pete5506

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sounds different

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Avatar image for _Colossus_
_Colossus_

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Why is GS reporting about this? It has nothing to do with commercial games, this is a military simulator off the shelf for good reasons. And FFS, don't add Operation Flashpoint 2 in to this. This simulator has nothing to do with Operation Flashpoint 2 or Operation Flashpoint for that matter. This uses the same engine as ArmA: Armed Assault (Combat Operations) Please get the facts straight. PS: Again I would like to add that Gamespot's Operation Flashpoint 2 section is deeply flawed. Every single article and screenshots BEFORE April 2007 belongs to another game. I've already mailed and PMed about this several times, but nobody listens. I know this history between Codemasters and Bohemia Interactive quite good. Do something about it before it gets completely out of hand.

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Eye_Indigo

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VBS is not really based on Operation Flashpoint - it's a really advanced piece of commercial software. I suggest trying it out before comapring it to any game.

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Avatar image for deactivated-5b50f9586c2f9
deactivated-5b50f9586c2f9

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Hehe, this sounds quite interesting. But as Solid Snake once said in his highly sarcastic manner, 'War as a video game, what better way to train the ultimate soldier?'

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Avatar image for cobrax75
cobrax75

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BTW...this incorrect....the people making VBS2, are not making OPF2.... they had a disagreement and no longer own the name. Instead they made Armed Assault, and will be making a new game in a few years.

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jhellequin

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Sounds interesting. I wonder if the SA80 rifles will jam realistically and not work in deserts or dusty environments? Or will it feature USAF friendly-fire airstrikes?

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cobrax75

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"WTH does Operation Flashpoint 2 have to do with VBS2?" the same companies develop it, OPF was a scaled down version of VBS1

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Maverick4Ever

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eXist, you are the first person I've ever seen refer to Total Air War. It was a great game, but I always got the sense that it didnt get much attention. Too bad I had a really poor PC at the time when I had it, so it ran like crap.

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CyphenX

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While Flashpoint is definitly a realistic game in most respects, I believe that it's still too much a first-person-shooter to be effectlively used as a training tool. I say, use Full Spectrum Warrior. The game has to train a soldiers mind, not their thumbs, and by taking the emphasis off of precise shooting (Full Spectrum Warrior only has the player issuing shoot commands, not actually pulling the trigger) but still providing a potent sence of mortality and real-world tactics, Full Spectrum turns out to be, in my opinion, the superior training tool.

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Arinthel

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Based on my experience in the national guard, I would like to vouch for Operation Flashpoint and VBS as realistic training systems. The Advanced Warfighter series does not come close, mainly because you can, in that game, feel relatively safe about popping up and moving while under fire. In Operation Flashpoint, coming up from under cover when your opponents are not suppressed is likely to get you killed, much like a real firefight. Also, keep in mind how these simulators are used. They are not used to train people how to shoot a weapon, or operate a vehicle. Most of the time, these simulators are used to allow soldiers to practice their battle drills and tactics in a way that has a low startup cost and time, and in which scenarios can be modified, repeated, and evaluated at any time.

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ohioyankee

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a lot of these programs are for qualification and training before actually handling a live weapon/vehicle. while i was a recruit at parris island they had a virtual rifle range that recruits used before being handed live ammunition.

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Avatar image for mirautaj
mirautaj

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WTH does Operation Flashpoint 2 have to do with VBS2?

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JeroenVS

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So, basically, when you join the army you get to play video games these days?

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TheUnionFrag

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Whoah, hold on, British soldiers are renowned for being probably the best trained in the Western world [albeit not best-equipped anymore]. Why the hell would we suddenly throw that away with a simulator? We've already god extensive training facilities - so USE THEM!

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MiltoxBeyond

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They do have cross-com in development though...they have some already that let you have a camera on the gun, and be able to aim from around a corner without exposing the rest of your body... Its real. Just not deployed in large quantities...

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eXists

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I remember DID who developed Total Air War and EF-2000 were hired by the British gov or some other military to develop a combat sim, there are some bright ppl in game dev for sure.

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TheKretinousQ

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Operation Flashpoint? Possibly the most unrealistic training system, why don't they do proper training, in the field, with guns?

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frans636

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Lol, this backs up J. Thomsons claims ,that games are murder training simulators.

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zixarga

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Interesting, never thought that a game can be used for training.

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TWOC2689

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I hate how people keep on saying that GRAW is the most realistic game ever. How is it? have you seen a solder with Cross-com on the news lately this is a true simulation.

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